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Crafting a Successful Giving Day Email Marketing Campaign

Email has been considered the backbone of effective nonprofit marketing strategies for a long time. This platform makes it easy to get your content directly in front of each individual donor to communicate the most important messages.

Email offers a number of important benefits, particularly when it comes to promoting your organization’s next Giving Day. 

First, email is incredibly affordable, allowing small organizations to get started on free platforms, and for larger organizations to pay small fees for more advanced features. Emails can also be used to create targeted messages, specifically tailored to individual viewers, allowing you to be more persuasive and engaging to your audience. Finally, you can track the success of your email campaigns, allowing you to make adjustments that result in higher engagement and more traffic to your Giving Day profile.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the steps necessary to help your nonprofit craft a successful email marketing campaign leading up to your next Giving Day. We’ll cover the following steps:

Launching a robust campaign during your local Giving Day can be an incredibly lucrative opportunity for your organization. The results from Giving Tuesday are proof of the impact these campaigns provide. Make sure your next Giving Day is a success with these steps to crafting the perfect email marketing campaign.

Determine your audience.

One of the first things you need to do when marketing your Giving Day is to determine the audience you want to reach with your campaign message. You will likely be working to reach supporters who are already in your donor database, as well as new supporters. 

Current Supporters

you’ll likely want to reach out to segmented groups within your current supporters. For example, you might ask your major donors to give their annual gift on your  Giving Day. This boosts morale and encourages others to give when they see the campaign is going well.

Additionally, you may consider reaching out to these other groups of your current supporters: 

  • Volunteers. Your volunteers have already shown a commitment to your cause. These supporters are highly likely to give to your cause and do so joyfully! Use your email campaign to ask them for help volunteering in preparation for the Giving Day, and don’t be afraid to also ask for a contribution. They may even be eligible for a volunteer grant or matching gift through their employer, so be sure to ask!
  • Lower-level donors. Lots of contributions from lower-level supporters will add up during a Giving Day campaign. Use email appeals to ask them to contribute during a time where gifts are matched or during a power hour, to amplify the impact of their donation.
  • Mid-level donors. Your mid-level donors give in greater amounts and may expect a more personalized interaction than your lower-level supporters. Leading up to the campaign, leverage your email to send personalized messages to these supporters. You might even take it a step further by sending them an evite to an event where you network with these supporters and ask for pledges for your Giving Day. 
  • Lapsed donors. A Giving Day is a great opportunity to re-engage lapsed donors. Send an email to these supporters asking them to come back to contribute to the success of your Giving Day. 
  • Peer-to-peer ambassadors. Peer-to-peer ambassadors are working hard to raise money on your behalf leading up to and during your Giving Day. Reach out to them over email, providing tips to make the most of their personalized fundraising campaigns.

Use the information you have collected about your supporters to create more personalized messaging by creating donor segments. Feathr’s digital marketing guide explains, “you can use these segments to reach out to entire groups of supporters with a message that will appeal to all of them. This creates an efficient method of personalization that captures and holds your donors’ attention.”

For example, you might ask your peer-to-peer ambassadors to give the first donation to their own campaign prior to or on the morning of your Giving Day. This drives momentum for them to reach their goals. Meanwhile, you may send a “we missed you!” message to your lapsed donors, showing them that a Giving Day is the perfect time to reengage with your organization. 

New Supporters

Giving Days are a great opportunity to engage brand new supporters as well as your existing ones. However, to get in touch with them, you’ll need to gather new email addresses leading up to the campaign itself. 

You can gather new email addresses by: 

  • Adding email fields on offline forms. Whether you’re sending a survey, sponsorship commitment form, or another response form, ask new contacts to provide their email addresses. In addition, at events, volunteers, donors, and participants should always sign in and provide this information. Be open and honest about wanting to connect with these individuals in the future, so they don’t feel like they’re being misled by your organization.
  • Asking for email addresses online. When it comes to digital communications, the best place to start is online. Promote opportunities on your website where people can submit their email information, such as registering to events, signing up for your newsletter, or asking for additional information about getting involved. Don’t ask for too much information right off the bat—simply a name and email address are enough to get started. 
  • Hosting a peer-to-peer campaign. While peer-to-peer fundraising is generally under the bucket of “fundraising campaigns,” it can also be used as a tool to find new supporters and gather new emails. When people give to a peer-to-peer campaign, make sure they’re prompted to provide their email address so that your organization can reach out to say thank you and to get them more involved in future endeavors.

Gathering email addresses gives your organization new individuals to ask for donations from on your Giving Day. However, this isn’t something you can do at the last minute. Start preparing for your Giving Day early, asking for emails, and organizing your outreach lists ahead of time.

Overcome the email open barrier. 

In the nonprofit world, the average email open rate rests right around 20%. This means that around 80% of recipients ignore, archive, or delete these emails without ever reading them. Your organization’s job is to overcome this barrier and work to encourage more people to open and thoroughly read your email messages.

There are a couple of important aspects that go into this delicate art of overcoming the email open barrier: 

  • The time you send emails. Think about when you open your email during the day. It’s probably around the same times throughout the week. According to NextAfter, email inboxes are most crowded during the week from 7AM to noon and least crowded in the afternoon on the weekends. Make sure you’re using the times throughout the day wisely to make sure supporters see your messages.
  • Email subject lines. When it comes to email open rate, very few things are as important as your email subject line. Consider your segments and be sure to create engaging email subject lines for those particular audiences. You might also consider A/B testing to determine which types of subject lines your organization’s supporters are most likely to respond to. 

By overcoming this particular barrier, more people will hear about your Giving Day! It’s especially important to establish the reputation of sending engaging email messages to communicate with your supporters ahead of the campaign. This is because you’ll be sending them several emails during the day of your Giving Day campaign, and you’d like them to open each and every message.

Schedule emails to be sent out. 

As we mentioned in the previous section, timing is key for engaging your audience because it ensures your supporters will see the messages you send. You’ll not only need to employ a number of nonprofit marketing tactics to vary your campaign strategy and vary the times during which you send emails to supporters to ensure they’re kept up to date. 

For your Giving Day, this means you’ll need to determine when you’ll send emails leading up to and during the campaign. 

Leading Up to the Campaign

In the days or weeks leading up to your Giving Day, you’ll need to send several emails to your supporters alerting them of the upcoming opportunity. Set up automated email streams to be sent out on an increasingly frequent basis to potential donors. 

First, inform your prospective donors about your upcoming campaign. Then, get more in-depth about why you’re choosing to participate in this Giving Day campaign and how this will help your mission. Tell stories about what your past campaigns have accomplished and invite them to be a part of making an even greater difference. 

On the Day Of the Campaign

By definition, Giving Days are an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to create urgency in their drive for donations to maximize engagement and awareness. However, urgency can only be acknowledged if your nonprofit is in frequent contact with your supporters.

On your Giving Day, your organization will need to send very frequent emails, reminding supporters of the opportunity and further creating that urgency in the campaign. We recommend preparing for this prior to the event by pre-writing and scheduling a lot of the messages that will be sent on the big day. Be sure to check out your toolkit on GiveGab for templated emails and other outreach inspirations!

Pre-write email messages. 

When you’re in a time crunch, as is necessary with Giving Days, it’s absolutely essential that your organization appropriately prepares for the campaign. To do this, you’ll want to pre-write your email campaign messages as much as possible.

When you prewrite your messages, consider how you’ll use various elements to engage your audience and encourage them to give. For example, consider how you might leverage: 

  • Images. Pictures speak louder than words. Leveraging real photos that pull at the emotions, your organization can make the most of images to better engage your audience. Also consider the fonts, colors, and layout you choose for your emails as this can also sway a supporter on the edge of giving.
  • Personalization. Use your marketing solution to pull names directly from a donor list or from your CRM. This way, you can address each supporter by name in a very personalized message. 
  • FOMO. Because Giving Days leverage urgency to make a successful campaign, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a perfect way to encourage supporters to give. They only have 24 hours to donate so use this timeframe to encourage them not to miss the chance. 

Consider the donor segments that you’re going to use for your campaign and use those to make sure the right supporters receive the right messages. This should be done from the pre-campaign messages all the way through your thank you note. 

For example, you might reach out to your past volunteers, inviting them to get involved with your Giving Day volunteer activities. Meanwhile, you might ask your past donors to give to your campaign and invite those who are geographically accessible to attend an event. But you need to know this information about your supporters before you can craft messages, so be sure your data is complete and segments accurate.

Giving Days are an incredibly effective way to raise awareness and donations for your cause. However, there is a lot of preparation required to get these campaigns off the ground, especially when it comes to marketing. Make sure your nonprofit prepares an effective email campaign for your next Giving Day with the tips in this guide.